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Arendt, Laurie (ed.) / Back from duty 2 : more stories from Ozaukee County's veterans

[Profiles],   pp. 11-148 ff.

Page 14

Orville Arendt As told to his grandson, Nicholas Fieber
Served in the Admirality Islands Campaign
My grandpa, Orville Arendt, volunteered for service when he was 20 years old. He was assigned to the 1st
Calvary Division, 7th Calvary Regiment. He returned home with a number of medals, including the Bronze Star,
seven Major Battle Stars, a Purple Heart, the American Theater Service ribbon, Asiatic-Pacific Theater Service
Ribbon and Philippine Liberation ribbon with two Bronze Stars.
While on New Guinea, on Christmas Day during recreation time, a group of soldiers went swimming. As I was
running into the water, I fell into a bomb crater and was sucked underwater by the swift current. Fortunately, my
friends rescued me on the third time I came to the surface. I was unconscious for about four hours. The water
wasn't pumped out of my lungs - there were no lung pumps available - and I developed pneumonia, yellow
jaundice and malaria. I was in the hospital for several weeks.
From New Guinea I was sent to the Admiralty Islands where we
PS WILD SHoT IS            encountered our first combat ... on the front lines. We were in continuous
:LUCKy F. OArVRLLe       ,   combat and lived in fox holes. Our only source of food was K rations. We
LI. a. iry i  '   .....  had one uniform to wear and one pair of boots. At night we dug fox holes
n Lyft-Probaby i Athe v  rea.  to sleep in and cover ourselves with mud to keep the mosquitoes from
Gove Pis aville Arendlt Of Cedar  btn  s
Srove, is alive today is that the  biting us.
Ja  ip .who fired at himf   ,
tance of ten feet wasrom  ds.    In this campaign there was a lack of supplies, food, clothing and
sed      wtth.n he.          ammunition. The climate was very hot and humid, with rain practically
hporit of a teonnalsanc'a)n-  every day. The boots that we were given were made of rubber on the
fro110undin g a  bend  ine le  bottom and canvas on top. They never let our feet dry off and I, and most
trp Ronin   a hoend heuI-
trail he came face t4ace with,  of the others, had what we called "jungle rot" on our feet and ankles. We
al Jan in a fox hole., The sur- :k
pirsed Jan tired one wild shot,  had very bad infections on our feet, and it took years after the war ended
jud As wild. re  T  i        for me to get my feet back to normal again.
Juas wid Then he ducked
Saround the corner. Advane.       The campaign in the Admiralties included seven beachheads, and I
i ne   J~ q a ,  li e  f o u n du   n o   tr a c e   o f  -
,Ae d J s twas in three: Los Negros, Manus Island and Mekerage Peninsula. These
Arendt is the so, of Mr & Ms  were three of the fiercest battles of the Admiralty Campaign. Losses to
Ar ndt        .the Japanese in these battles were about 60 Japanese to one American.
This article appeared in the Press, 1944.  When the troops landed at a new beachhead, our landing crafts
could not go all the way to shore. A ramp would go down and we had to
run to shore. Sometimes we would be running when the tide was in and we would drop down into water over our
heads. We had to keep running with our guns held high over our heads to keep them dry.
After the Admiralty Campaign, the 1st Calvary embarked for the Philippine Islands. We landed on Leyte on
October 20, 1944. On White Beach the 1st Calvary captured Taclobon, the capitol of Leyte, the day after landing.
Leyte and Samar Island were also the scene of fierce fighting. The battle through the mountains separating Leyte
and Ormoc Valleys has been described as the outstanding achievement of this campaign.
I was the squad leader of a platoon of 30 men. While on patrol December. 19, 1944, we came over a hill and
were met by Japanese fire. Three men were killed and four wounded immediately. At that time, we dug in and a
runner went for artillery help. No help came so another man went out. Still no help had arrived by mid afternoon.
At that time, I passed command to the 1st Squad Leader and went for help. As I was going through the valley and
up the next hill, I was shot by an enemy sniper. The bullet hit me in the back, in the shoulder. I also found the first
two men, who had been killed by the sniper. I continued on, but did not get to help until the next morning. The
troops used their mortar fire to bring our men back.
I was taken to a first aid station and then to the 132nd General Hospital, Base H on the island of Biak in the
Dutch East Indies. A period of five days passed before I received proper medical attention and serious infection
had set into the wound. After several months of hospitalization and recuperation, I returned to my outfit in Luzon.
I had been transferred to a service group to drive a truck. On my third trip out with a load of ammunition, I hit
a land mine and the truck was demolished, but fortunately, I was not injured. I was then issued a new truck and
assigned to hauling rations to the troops in the field.
After Japan surrendered, we were transferred to Japan. The First Division was the first to arrive in Tokyo for
the U.S. occupation. After five weeks in Japan, I was released from duty. I should've gone home earlier, but my
records had been lost and I couldn't go anywhere until they were found. There were welcoming parties for some of
the GIs, but when I arrived in Seattle, our group was given a glass of warm milk, stale sweet rolls and nobody to
greet us.

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